Epic Games drag Apple to EU antitrust regulators over App Store dispute

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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The American video game and software developer Epic Games has taken its fight against iPhone maker Apple to European Union’s (EU) antitrust regulators.

The move from the makers of the popular game Fortnite comes after failing to make headway in a US court in the dispute over Apple’s payment system and control over apps downloads on its App Store.

Continuing dispute

The two companies have been locked in a legal dispute since August last year when the game maker tried to avoid Apple’s 30 percent fee on some in-app purchases on the App Store by launching its own in-app payment system.

That prompted Apple to remove Epic’s Fortnite game off the App Store and threaten to terminate an affiliated account that would have effectively blocked distribution of Unreal Engine, a software tool used by hundreds of app makers to create games.

Unfair practice

Epic Games founder and Chief Executive Tim Sweeney said Apple’s control of its platform gave it unfair advantage in the field.

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Tim Sweeney
Epic Games

“The 30 percent they charge as their app tax, they can make it 50 percent or 90 percent or 100 percent. Under their theory of how these markets are structured, they have every right to do that. Epic is not asking any court or regulator to change this 30 percent to some other number, only to restore competition on iPhone’s mobile operating system (iOS).”

The company also accused Apple of stopping rivals from launching their own gaming subscription service on its platform by preventing them from providing several games together, even though its own service, called Apple Arcade, does that.

Apple’s take

Apple, on the other hand, said its rules applied equally to all developers and that Epic had violated them. Apple has been taking small steps in recent months towards changing its practices, including lower fees for some developers and giving them a way to challenge its rulings, both of which have not satisfied the company’s critics.

The EU Commission, which is investigating Apple’s mobile payment system Apple Pay and the App Store, declined to comment on the complaint, saying it was aware of the concerns regarding Apple’s App Store rules.

Big companies such as Microsoft, Spotify and Match Group Inc have also criticized Apple’s App Store fees and rules.

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